Ramadan: The Month of the Qur’an
Dr. Mozammel Haque
The Noble Qur’an was revealed in the month of Ramadan (Al-Qur’an, 97:1-3.). The Qur’an was sent down in the month of Ramadan on the Night of Power Lailatul Qadr. (Al-Qur’an, 91:1-3.). It is the month of Ramadan that Allah has honoured by revealing the Qur’an. Because of this strong relation between the Qur’an and the month of Ramadan, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) used to read the Qur’an to Archangel Jibreel every Ramadan. I think this is the right place to discuss the purpose and objective of the revelation of the Qur’an, its importance, the campaigns against it and the do’s and don’ts of the Qur’an.
First of all, Allah the Most High, created mankind and gave him the gift of expression. For the guidance of mankind Allah sent Prophets (peace be upon them all) to every single community. In the words of the Qur’an, "There has been no community to which God’s messengers have not come" and "Muslims should make no distinctions between them." So it is the duty of a Muslim to honour all the prophets equally.
The Qur’an represents the culmination of all other earlier Revealed Books. The Qur’an is the last of the Revealed Books. The Qur’an is the first religious book in the world, which requires the belief in other revelations, a part of its Faith. This Sacred Book was revealed to the last Messenger, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in the month of Ramadan. Allah Himself said in the Qur’an: “Ramadan is the (month) in which was sent down the Qur’an, as a guide to Mankind, also clear (Signs) for guidance and judgment (between right and wrong).” (2:185). Allah the Most High has especially mentioned the exact date and month of the revelation: “We have indeed revealed This (Message) in the Night of Power.” (97:1) So the purpose of the revelation of the Qur’an was for guidance of Mankind.
The Qur’an is emphatic in proclaiming that Islam is the religion of Jesus, Moses, Abraham and the Prophets Jesus and Moses were not Jews but Muslims. "Surely those who believe (in that which is revealed to Muhammad Peace be upon him) and those who are Jews, and the Christians, and the Sabaeans – whoever believes in Allah, and the Last Day and does good, surely their reward is with their Lord, and there is no fear for them nor shall they grieve." (2:62). "A Guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and judgement (between right and wrong)." This is the most important characteristic of the Qur’an, the Book that Allah has revealed in the month of Ramadan. It is guidance for mankind. It is clear proof, clear proof of guidance and of judgement.
Before the revelation of the Qur’an, it was preserved and guarded from corruption in the "Mother of the Book". Allah Himself said: "Nay this is a Glorious Qur’an (inscribed) in a Tablet Preserved" (85:21-22). When Allah wanted to give this Trust to someone, the Heavens, the Earth, and the Mountains, i.e. other creatures of Allah, besides man, refused to undertake this Trust or responsibility. They preferred to submit their will entirely to Allah’s Will, which is All-Wise and Perfect, and which would give them far more happiness than a faculty of choice, with their imperfect knowledge. Allah says in the Qur’an: "We did indeed offer the Trust to the Heavens and the Earth and the Mountains; but they refused to undertake it, being afraid thereof: but man undertook it: He was indeed unjust and foolish." (33-72).
So it is the human beings who took the responsibility of the Trust without realising its importance. This Sacred Book was revealed to the last Messenger Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in the month of Ramadan. The Qur’an is the revealed book of God which has been in existence for more than four hundred years and the Word of Allah is available in its original form. There has not been an iota of change in this unique historic record. Its originality and authenticity has been guaranteed by no other than Allah the Almighty who challenges in the Qur’an itself.
Allah said, "This Qur’an is not such as can be produced by other than Allah: on the contrary it is a confirmation of (revelation) that went before it, and a fuller explanation of the Book - wherein there is no doubt – from the Lord of the Worlds." (10:37). In another verse of the Qur’an Allah challenges, "Or do they say, "He forged it?" Say: "Bring then a Surah like unto it; and call (to your aid) anyone who can, beside Allah if it be you speak the truth!" (10:38). "Or they may say, "He forged it." Say, "Bring you then ten Suras forged, like unto it, and call (to your aid) whomsoever you can, other than Allah! – if you speak the truth!" (11:13).
Allah said in the Qur’an, "And if you are in doubt as to what We have revealed from time to time to Our servant then produce a Sura like thereunto, and call your witness and helpers (if there are any) besides Allah, if you are truthful." (2:23) Allah places many verses before you. Can you produce one like it?
The world is challenged to produce a Book like it and has not produced one. It is the only Revealed Book whose text stands pure and uncorrupted today. Allah said, "Say: "if the whole of mankind and jinns were to gather together to produce the like of this Qur’an, they could not produce the like thereof, even if they backed up each other with help and support." (17:88)
Since the revelation of the Qur’an, the adversaries of Islam have been trying to distort it. Firstly, they said, it is not revelation, it is written by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Then they started attacking its authenticity and originality. Recently, attempts have been made to denigrate Muslims by burning copies of the Muslim Holy Book, The Qur’an.
Pastor Jones and members of his Dove Outreach Church in Gainesville, Florida, had intended to throw200 copies of the Islamic holy book on a bonfire on 11 September 2010, reported in the Daily Mail on 11 September 2010. Jones burned a Qur’an on the grounds of his church in Florida in March last year, 2011. On 24 April 2012, Al-Arabiya News reported that US Pastor Terry Jones, a self-professed scourge of Islam, has threatened to ‘burn Qur’ans and images of Prophet Mohammad’ if a Christian religious leader in Iran is not released from jail. The Guardian London reported on 23 February 2012 the burning of copies of the Qur’an by American soldiers in Afghanistan on Monday, the 20th of February, 2012. In spite of their conspiracy, the Qur’an has been preserved in its original form.
The Qur’an is the only Book in the world which has remained more than fourteen centuries pure without any interpolation or change and will remain so till the Last Day as Allah has guaranteed its purity. (15:9).
The purity, preservation and propagation of the Qur’an were maintained by two methods: memorization of Qur’an in Qur’anic schools and the recitation of the complete Qur’an in Ramadan. In the month of Ramadan every year the Noble Prophet (peace be upon him) was asked by Archangel Jibreel to recite the whole of it twice. It was a Muzakira between the two. Abu Huraira reported that Jibreel used to repeat the recitation of the Qur’an with the Prophet once a year, but he repeated it twice with him in the year the Prophet (peace be upon him) passed away. The Qur’an was recited in the Taraweeh for the first time during the era of Caliph Omar.
So far as the memorization of the Qur’an in Qur’anic schools is concerned, many Huffaz and Islamic scholars have been killed in different parts of the world at different times. But still there is no dearth of Islamic scholars who can recite the complete Qur’an from memory. Severe campaigns have been launched against the Qur’anic schools, which teach the study, recitation and memorization of the Qur’an. The Qur’an is the main Book of the Muslims; it is the duty of the Muslims to learn Qur’an, which contains their code of life and ethical values whose benefits have been experienced by mankind throughout the ages.
I have already mentioned the objective and importance of the Qur’an and how its originality and purity have been maintained. Our Prophet (pbuh) and his Companions dedicated their days and nights for worship. Their lives revolved completely around the Book of Allah, the Qur’an, reciting it in and out of Salah.
The Qur’an is the basis of the religion of Islam, and on the preservation and propagation of the Qur’an depends the very existence of this Faith. Hence the virtue of learning and teaching the Qur’an is self-evident and does not need further elucidation. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “The best amongst you is he who learns the Qur’an and teaches it.” (Bukhari, Daud and Tirmidhi).
A great Islamic scholar wrote in his book entitled Toward Understanding of the Qur’an: “The present arrangement of the Qur'an is not the work of later generations, but was made by the Prophet under God's direction. Whenever a surah was revealed, the Prophet summoned his scribes, to whom he carefully dictated its contents, and instructed them where to place it in relation to the other surahs. The Prophet followed the same order of surahs and verses when reciting during ritual Prayer as on other occasions, and his Companions followed the same practice in memorizing the Qur'an. It is therefore a historical fact that the collection of the Qur'an came to an end on the very day that its revelation ceased. The One who was responsible for its revelation was also the One who fixed its arrangement. The one whose heart was the receptacle of the Qur'an was also respon¬sible for arranging its sequence. This was far too important and too delicate a matter for anyone else to dare to become involved in.”
“Not even the most skeptical person has any reason to doubt that the Qur'an as we know it today is identical with the Qur'an which Muhammad (peace be on him) set before the world; this is an unquestionable, objective, historical fact, and there is nothing in human history on which the evidence is so overwhelmingly strong and conclusive. To doubt the authenticity of the Qur'an is like doubting the existence of the Roman Empire, the Mughals of India, or Napoleon! To doubt historical facts like these is a sign of stark ignorance, not a mark of erudition and scholarships,” he added.